David Foster and Friends 25th Anniversary Concert

David Foster & Friends – Save-On Memorial Centre, Victoria – May 26, 2012

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the David Foster Foundation, the 16 time Grammy Winner brought together his friends, entertainers, business colleagues, and local philanthropists to support his Miracle Weekend.
The weekend began Friday night as  VIPs ticket holders were treated to a small intimate dinner at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria.
The main event was Saturday night at Save-On Memorial Centre. The evening began with a gala dinner and auction to raise money for the Foundation. Dinner guests included a number of celebrity friends of Foster; Alan Thicke, Wayne Gretzky, Pamela Anderson, Sinbad, Ben Mulroney and Muhammad Ali.  The concert-only ticket holders entered the arena about 3 hours into the dinner and auction but the giving was on a roll and delayed the start of the show by about an hour.  The delay was definitely worthwhile, as the auction, in spite of the economic recession, raised $4.6million dollars! Foster reminisced that his first event 25 years ago raised $97,000 and they were thrilled at that time.
The concert began with short highlight real of David Fosters vast catalogue of songs he has had a hand in turning into hits. ‘The Hitman’ has covered a vast array of genres in his 40 year career and a number of them were presented this evening. Starting off the night at his piano performing his signature “Love Theme from St Elmo’s Fire”, backed by the Victoria Symphony Orchestra. He soon introduced Kenny G, who performed a couple of his best known singles and together the longtime friends told some anecdotes and ribbed each other about marriages and divorces.
Local vocal group The Canadian Tenors followed (minus one member absent due to illness) highlighting their amazing vocal abilities and a Foster penned song before giving way to American Idol alumni Ruben Studdard wooing the ladies in the crowd with his ‘smooth’ sounds including a R&B infused version of Micheal Buble’s hit “Home”, penned by Foster’s daughter Amy. As Studdard wrapped up, he was showered with flowers from the crowd.  Foster then featured vocalist Nita Whitaker on a couple of his past hits, before comedian Sinbad took the microphone for some laughs, many at Foster’s expense. With the evening running late, Sinbad was cut off but could easily have kept the audience entertained for a while longer. Foster them performed another one of his best known hits, “Man In Motion” with another American Idol alum on vocals, Michael Johns taking the place of fellow Aussie John Parr. The a crowd favourite moment happened as the real Man In Motion, Rick Hansen – also celebrating a 25th Anniversary of his round the world tour – joined them onstage.
Then, introducing “one of the most beautiful talents he’s even some across…ever, ever…” he gave way for the incomparable Sarah McLachlan, the only performer of the evening to play solo, not backed by Foster and orchestra. Performing Adia from the stage at the back of the arena, her beautiful voice filled the auditorium.  Following the track, she made her way to Foster’s side at the main stage where she performed her mega-hit, “Angel” with Foster on piano and the orchestra backing, the first time in 20 years of not accompanying herself. Then a special treat for the audience saw, the Canadian Tenors and Kenny G return to the stage to perform a moving rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.  That was an amazing enough moment to close the show but there was still more, in the form of Josh Groban. The Foster prodigy, suffering from a sore throat, performed two tracks while working his way around the arena much to the thrill of the ladies seated at the table at the far stage.  The gregarious Groban charmed everyone in the room as he ‘worked’ the crowd before beginning the song that made him famous, “You Raise Me Up”, part way through Canadian College of Performing Arts choir filled the stage, swaying in red-robed unison, bringing the arena alive with the uplifting and fitting end to an amazing evening of music and giving. Everyone, including the performers, seemed to enjoy the night and were truly feeling the giving spirit of the event.  Speaking with Sarah Maclachlan after the concert she said that it was a truly great experience and she would have gladly given us more music but with the show running so late there wasn’t time for more.  Perhaps, that will just make the audience crave more and be sure to return again next year for the 26th event.

The David Foster Foundation financially supports families whose children are undergoing major organ transplants. Families receive support for non-medical expenses incurred when traveling away from their homes to be with their child during transplant

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